Friday, May 30, 2008
Overlooked Books Friday
Overlooked books? I’ve thought this was a very cool meme/endeavor since I first saw it, and today I was reminded of it by Lisa over at Eudomania.. It apparently started, however, with Patti Abbott, and she posted more information about it today on her blog.
The idea seems to be to find a book that the writer personally enjoys or loves, but which is largely forgotten, and bring it back into the awareness of today’s readers. Since I read a lot of older books, and have a great fondness for the books I read when I was younger, this is the perfect meme for me. So, without further ado, I present my first “forgotten book.”
Desert Dog by Jim Kjelgaard, which was originally published in 1956. This is a young-adult book but I have reread it as an adult and still find it very enjoyable. It’s the story of Tawny, a racing greyhound who ends up abandoned in the desert and must learn to survive on his own against coyotes, snakes and a pack of wild dogs who hunts him. Kjelgaard had the ability to put you inside the dog’s consciousness and experience without making the dog seem like just another human in a fur coat. The book was also a great influence on me as a young man. It taught me about honor and love and sacrifice, even if as an adult I’ve not always practiced those things. I believe the youth of today, boys and girls, could love this book.
I might also add that Kjelgaard is himself a forgotten writer, in that I hardly ever hear anyone mention him these days. I think that’s a shame. Kjelgaard wrote many great stories, especially dog stories, and I’ve read almost all of them. Some other very good ones were Big Red, his most famous book, and Snow Dog. He also wrote a wonderful story about a polar bear, Kalak of the Ice, which I have been looking for for a long time, and some wonderful historical stories about early humankind in Fire Hunter and Boomerang Hunter.
There is a website for Kjelgaard here. He died in 1959, less than a year after I was born, but his books had a big effect on me as a youngster and I will always remember his stories fondly. Thanks Jim!